Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son – by Ritchie Way
Feb 7, 2016 4342
Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
Then he went up and touched the bier, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us, ” they said. “God has come to help his people. ” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country’(Luke 7: 11-17).
The town of Nain was about ten kilometres from Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, and not far from Shunem where Elisha raised the son of the Shunamite woman (2 Kings 4:18-37).
As Jesus approached Nain a funeral cortege came through the gates on its way to the cemetery outside the town. This was a particularly large funeral, because a widow had lost her only son. In those days the only support people got when they became too old to work, was from their children. This woman was distraught because the last man in her household had died. “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.'”
From anyone else those words would have been empty and heartless, but not from Jesus. He went to the bier on which the body of her son lay, laid his hand upon it and said, softly, but with great authority, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk. Those carrying the bier almost dropped it in surprise. To have a dead man sit up and talk to them was not one of their run-of-the-mill experiences.
Luke says Jesus gave the young man back to his mother. She hugged her son, her tears of grief turning into tears of joy.
This event in the life of Jesus and his disciples is a mini picture of the gospel. The son, in this story, is described as ‘an only born son’ (monogenes uios), which is what Jesus is called in John 3:16. The widow is a type of the Church on earth, devastated and in mourning over the death of Jesus on the cross. But the Father, aware of the Church’s great need, intercedes and restores the Son to life, thus providing for the Church’s future needs. The response of the people is: “God has come to help his people.” As a result “the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.”
The Bible says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). God didn’t loan us his Son; he gave him. And he didn’t just give him to us until he took him from us by death; after his resurrection from the dead, he gave him back to us. And now Jesus always lives to intercede for his people (Heb. 7:25). His one interest is in making available to us the benefits of the sacrifice he made for us on the cross.
As with the widow of Nain, so with us: the Son is restored to us so that we might live. This is the message that goes out to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the Earth.
– Ritchie Way